More About the Author
I was born in Great Falls, Montana and lived in Whitefish. In high school I showed a talent for science and was awarded the Bausch and Lomb Science Award. I majored in chemistry at Montana State, Bozeman and during graduation I was given the Richardson Award for women's excellence in science. I earned my Master's Degree in Organic Chemistry at the University of Maryland, College Park, where I did research under a U.S. Naval Scholarship. After graduation I married a fellow chemist.
We had five children and each child was given a Chinook Indian name. This was not unusual for a Montanan, although Bill, my husband thought so; he was from Maryland. I explained that many things had Indian names in Western Montana and those things that were most valuable were given a name that was fitting and appropriate as a gift. For instance our first-born, Judy, was called Skookumchuck, meaning Something Good. Sally, was called Polliwog because she was always wiggly. She became a ballet dancer. Dale, hypersensitive as a small child, was named Williwaw, Storm. Patty was named Kloochman, meaning Little Woman, because she wanted to be older, like her sisters. Rick, the youngest, was named Hee Hee Tum Tum, Happy Heart. He was the one with a smile and sunny disposition.
At the University of Dayton, in Ohio, I taught organic chemistry and biochemistry.
I wrote regularly for Chemical Abstracts Service, Columbus, Ohio and worked for Monsanto. I published numerous technical papers, most of which were written while doing biochemical research at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. Later we moved and I taught chemistry at St. Louis Community College-Meremac, Kirkwood, Missouri and biochemistry for nursing students attending St. John's Mercy College. When my husband, Bill, also a chemist, retired we moved to San Luis Obispo, California where I taught chemistry at Cal Poly and joined the local historical society.
When I was in high school, I thought everyone ought to study American history and become thoroughly acquainted with some chosen segment in order to appreciate our heritage. I began to study the Lewis and Clark Expedition. My concern for this Expedition and my awareness of the importance of St. Louis as the gateway to the West was emphasized when we moved to St. Louis, Missouri. I began to wonder where Sacajawea really came from and where did she go after the Expedition what happened to her first-born son nicknamed Pomp by members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. I did ten years of research and my husband and I and our five children traveled the Lewis and Clark trail by automobile three times for summer vacations. We stopped at all the Indian reservations, universities and libraries and museums for information about the Shoshoni woman who went with the Expedition halfway across our continent on foot and by canoe. During the winters I took college courses in American Indian anthropology and archaeology and I went on digs in a satellite community related to the old Mississippian culture from Missouri's Monks Mound. My finished book was titled, SACAJAWEA.
My second book titled, PRAIRIE, began from my interest in ordinary people who do extra ordinary things that affect the history of the American West. One day I had a telephone call from a granddaughter of C. B. Irwin. She wanted me to write the story of her grandfather. I knew nothing of his history; had never heard of him. I said I was busy with some other writing and would get back to her later. A week later I received a scrapbook with hundreds of clippings about C. B. Irwin, with no dates, no names of the newspapers or magazines. C. B. Irwin was so interesting that Bill and I went to Laramie and Cheyenne Wyoming to organize the scrapbook clippings in sequence. C. B. was a great Wyoming hero of rodeos and horse racing in the early American West. He was with the first group of men who organized the annual Frontier Days Rodeo in Cheyenne. His wife was not fond of ranch life, especially after their only son was killed while riding a bucking bronco. C. B. loved ranch life and not only had a big ranch about forty-five miles north of Cheyenne, called the Y6, but he had a horse ranch south of San Diego next to the Mexican border in California about where San Luis Rey is today. He was a friend of General John Pershing, Barney Oldfied, John Red Cloud, Fred Astair, Jackie Coogan, Douglas Fairbanks, Buffalo Bill, Tom Mix, Charlie Russell and Will Rogers. All of them spent time on his ranch, especially Will Rogers, who used the ranch of a place to rest between and after his cowboy touring shows. C. B. and his brother, Frank, sang at the hanging of Tom Horn.
Bill and I spent ten days in Wales, going to universities, libraries and hunting historical sites and old standing stones as I began to write a series of books about Madoc, who came to North America in the 12th century, long before Columbus. We were there in June and it was cold and rainy. Our Welsh library card read, "You have ten clear days for literary research." Actually that meant ten consecutive days.
The Druid Welshmen, who believed in the brotherhood of man, were often called pagans, in the twelfth century, lived in fear of harassment and being beheaded by English soldiers under orders from King Henry 11. Madoc loaded ten ships with about a month's worth of supplies, food and water, farm animals and all the willing druids he can find and sailed to an unknown land south of the known land occupied by the Vikings.
I believe readers will visualize druids with their tattooed honor marks and ancient rituals, as ordinary people we know today who believe in love, courage and honor, but feel the pangs of dislike, fear and disgrace. Madoc fulfills a druidic prophecy of being the savior of the ancient druids and their extraordinary knowledge of natural philosophy, which we would call science. He learned early astronomy when he was a shipmaster and he learned more about the cyclic rhythms of sun, moon, stars and constellations from the Maya Skywatcher. He was told about their prophesy of End Time.